Monday, 17 May 2010

Cultural Awareness Programme

It seems all I do now is apologize for delayed posts. The problem is there is often so little to say, and so little that feels worthy of being written and posted. Upon returning, it has been difficult to avoid the onset of a depressed malaise. I could have fallen into that quagmire, but I have and am trying desperately to avoid it.

The method I have used has been to keep busy. Very busy. Exceedingly so. Difficultly, the first weekend was spent without any form of telecommunications (The Big Storm 2010) and therefore I spent the long days gardening. Almost beside myself with boredom I cleared guttering, swept, pruned and was just generally helpful. I became, in essence, a recluse for some time. Shunning everybody bar my family and a few close friends, I created a heightened sense of isolation, already heightened by the fact I am in the most isolated city in the world. I felt very much an outsider, a foreigner, and stranger. Who were these people, and who was I?

Of course life cannot be lived in that manner. I embarked on a cultural awareness programme (CAP), the sort which would hopefully life my spirits, and remind me of the array of such things available. And also, because I simply do not know what is there any more. A lot changes in three years. Much never does, however the superficial certainly will. And curiously, there has been a makeover of sorts. Some are utter travesties. The village of Claremont has been destroyed by a soulless Westfield-style development. Hideous. But other pockets are thriving. The liquor licensing laws were relaxed in 2007, and because of this, a plenty of small, quirky and quaint bars have sprung up in small alleys and off anonymous-looking car parks. One, named Ezra Pound, has the flair of it's namesake, and plenty of charm. It serves cocktails in jam jars, something that delights me for reasons unknown. Another, named The Bird, could have emerged straight out of Dalston.

The food options are as good as ever they were, but alarmingly expensive. Ditto coffee. This part of the world has always made exceedingly good coffee because of it's very strong Italian heritage. And it is good: certainly no Starbucks here. But equally, one pays for it. I am often asked "However did you afford to live in London, isn't it terribly expensive?". I do so love the opportunity to correct ignorance in others.

Another resolution inspired by the CAP was a determination to meet new people. The bubble in which I grew up well and truly burst when I escaped, and I mean not to let it inflate again, entrapping me. Because of this, I have made some truly wonderful new friends. Of course I shan't ever fully shake off the past, and nor do I wish to. It informed a large part of the person I am and there is still value in it, and in those people. I just wish to not become a slave to it, like so many others.
So, there it is. A small insight to the long weeks past; dark and saddening, yet silvery glimmers of hope for whatever is to come.


  1. I love that you are so enquiring about where you are- I'd probably fall into myself and just read and be like a librarian Miss Haversham- you've gone out and found a cocktail bar with jam jar glasses! they sound very fun. Hope you aren't too bored though and that what is on the horizon is looking exciting. London is freezing and it rained all of yesterday if that helps x

  2. I hope that the silvery glimmers become increasingly frequent until everything shines. As Rose says above, it's been nothing even resembling the beginning of summer here, a bad joke quite frankly. xx

  3. I've missed your posts! Lovely to hear from you and catch your tone.

    Have you read "The Uncommon Reader"? If not, you must.

  4. I tagged you in a game here!

  5. 'tis very expensive - was just discussing that with a friend. But when I have never lived anywhere else, the weather is beautiful and I have sailed through the GFC because of the mining boom well....not too much to whinge about :)

    Ezra Pound sounds delightful but I fear I am too old and unhip to enjoy drinks out of jam jars.